Father's Day is coming up and I'm kind of dreading it. Kinda makes me not want to go to church. Everyone is going to be celebrating their dads and husbands and I really don't need a reminder that mine is gone until next month.
Honestly, when I flew back to the mainland a year and a half ago, I thought I was going to be doing a LOT of teaching. When you are a new parent, you just kind of get thrown in to it and you learn as you go. Together. But McKay got thrown right in with a one-year-old. I was a bit nervous--what if he didn't take to it? What if Gabe was a total terror for McKay? What if they ended up resenting each other?
As I've said before, it was magical from the first moment. I was shocked (and a little jealous) at how quick and easy it was for both of them. My fears were pretty much eliminated in no time at all. McKay was made for this. Gabe is a total daddy's boy. I am SO glad that they are best buds.
I won't lie, though. There have been times that their relationship has made me doubt my own parenting abilities. Gabriel used to be a complete mamma's boy...but maybe that was because I was his only option at the time? I think I did a pretty dang good job raising him as a single parent for the first year of his life. He has always been a super happy, healthy, smart baby. He sleeps well (I've got that boy trained, y'all! He started sleeping through the night consistently at six weeks old--he got his love for sleep from his mamma, I think...) and he communicates like a CHAMP! Yes, I am tooting my own parenting horn. Gabe is an awesome and adorable kid and I'm super proud.
Despite having more real world experience than McKay, he has taught me a lot about being a parent. He is better at a good handful of things than I am. For example: I am not very patient. I never have been. That's probably why I hated babysitting when I was a teenager. I don't like to sit down and immerse myself in barbies or a little dinosaur scenario. I don't mind supervising...but I don't want to play. I didn't even like playing barbies when I was barbie-playing age (the ONE exception was my best friend, Melanie. She was actually fun to play with and that girl owned every barbie accessory Mattel put out....took us three days just to divvy up the spoils to get ready to play). This does not mean that I don't like playing with my son at all. I do! But McKay is so much better at it than I am. He is so patient with Gabe. He makes him feel like they are just buddies playing cars. Gabriel has no idea that daddy has other things to get done or places to be.
Another thing: I'm big on having plans and routines. I like knowing what to expect and I think it's important for children to have structure like that as well. But sometimes I need to just let go and just let things flow. McKay has no problem with that. If I'm cleaning the kitchen and Gabriel's bed time comes up, McKay (of course) hauls Gabriel off to the tub and then to bed so I can finish. But then an hour will go by and I'm wondering where on earth McKay is. I go to Gabriel's bedroom and find them playing on the floor, schedule be damned! It frustrates me sometimes because when I say "It's bedtime!" to Gabe, I want him to know that I mean it. I find myself suppressing laughter sometimes, though, when I open the door to find them playing. They both have this "Uh-oh! We're caught!" look on their faces. McKay is a sucker for puppy eyes and a pout asking to play or read a story. He just can't say no. (I have no problem with that. I'm the stickler.)
When McKay is gone, I get shoved into this reality of single parenting again. It's not until that moment that I remember how stinking spoiled I am. When he can, McKay ALWAYS let's me sleep in while he gets up to do the morning routine with Gabriel. Since we recognize each others' strengths and weaknesses, we try to take over the duties we know we do best. I discipline, McKay plays. It sounds like I got the raw end of the deal, but I actually feel pretty blessed. (I don't have the patience for playing dinosaurs, remember?) He entertains the tot while I make dinner. I love to cook, but having a toddler under your feet while wielding knives and/or hot kitchen tools is not the most low-stress activity in the world. Enter hubby.
Some people think maybe this means that I am not a warm or nurturing mother. I beg to differ. When Gabriel needs some cuddles or kisses, I'm SO there. If he gets hurt, it's Mamma to the rescue and Gabriel always seeks me out to "kiss it better". He knows his mommy loves him and, at the end of the day, he understands that he can depend on either one of us to take care of business. I'm just better at putting my foot down than McKay is, and that's okay. The two of us together make a pretty complete parenting puzzle and we both know where to pick up each others' slack.
So. I miss my husband for obvious reasons. He is my partner in life. I love him to pieces. He is super sweet to me. AND..? He is an excellent father. His absence is kind of a huge hole in our lives. He is patient and kind and selfless. He gets that Gabe has a bed time and I mean business. But when push comes to shove--what's most important is that our child knows that he is loved and valued. When he grows up, he's not going to sit back and think "Aahhh--getting to bed exactly on time every night was the highlight of my childhood...." Nope. He's going to remember that Dad used to sit up and play dinosaurs and cars with him. He was always willing to read him JUST ONE MORE story. Gabriel is going to remember and cherish Saturday mornings watching cartoons and eating dry cereal with Daddy. Guy time.
Goodness, I love that man.